Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has filed for bankruptcy.
Jones, the founder of far-right conspiracy website InfoWars, was sued after he accused relatives of children and teachers who died in the Sandy Hook shooting of being actors who faked the massacre.
The 48-year-old described the shooting as “phoney as a three-dollar bill” and claimed that the whole event was staged in an effort to curb gun rights.
He lost the case in October and was ordered to pay nearly $1bn in damages to the families of the victims.
Twenty pupils, all aged six or seven, and six staff members were killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012.
Jones was ordered to pay a total of $965m (£791m) in damages.
A court filing showed the conspiracy theorist filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors with the US bankruptcy court in Houston, Texas stating that he has between $1m and $10m of assets and between $1bn and $10bn of liabilities.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company or individual to propose a reorganisation plan in order to allow them to keep operating while also paying off their debts.
The controversial host has been banned from virtually all mainstream social media as a result of his conspiracy theories.
However, he still streams content on his own platform to a devoted online following.
On Thursday, Jones made headlines around the world again after he was joined by Kanye West for an interview in which the rapper praised Hitler.
Despite Jones’ social media exile, clips of his talk with the rapper were circulated widely, with West’s views on the Nazis prompting widespread outrage.
He said to the rapper: “You’re not Hitler, you’re not a Nazi, so you don’t deserve to be called that and demonised.”
West, whose face was hidden by a black mask throughout the interview, replied: “Well, I see good things about Hitler also.
Who is Alex Jones?
“I love everyone, and Jewish people are not going to tell me, ‘you can love, you know, us’… every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.”
Originally hailing from Austin, Texas, Jones began working in cable TV in the 1990s where he picked up a cult following thanks to his conspiracy theories.
In 1999 he cofounded the website InfoWars, which became popular in online conspiracy circles, reportedly racking up more than 10 million visits a month in 2017.
However, in the wake of repeated controversies and lawsuits the site’s parent company Free Speech Systems LLC filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
Along with the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory, he infamously promulgated the “Pizzagate” fake news story, which alleged that a Washington DC pizzeria was at the centre of an international paedophile abuse ring run by Hillary Clinton.
Couple ‘likely dead’ after yacht hijacked by escaped convicts
An American couple who disappeared a week ago after their catamaran was hijacked by three escaped convicts are likely dead, police have said.
Police Commissioner Don McKenzie said the prisoners had escaped custody on the Caribbean island of Grenada on the 18 February and the following day commandeered a catamaran named Simplicity – with Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry on board.
“Information suggests that while travelling between Grenada and St Vincent, they disposed of the occupants,” Commissioner McKenzie said.
The couple was last seen on the night the prisoners escaped and their boat was later tracked leaving the Grenada late at night at an unusual speed.
Police in St Vincent and the Grenadines captured the three fugitives on Wednesday, he said, adding that a team from Grenada had been dispatched to collaborate on “having a complete and thorough investigation of the matters at hand”.
The island nations are separated by about 85 nautical miles.
Ron Mitchell, 30, Trevon Robertson, 19, and 25-year-old Abita Stanislaus were being held at the South Saint George Police Station near Grenada’s southwestern tip on charges of robbery with violence, when they escaped.
Mitchell also faces counts of rape, attempted rape and indecent assault.
Police from St Vincent said in a statement they had discovered the ship with no bodies but items strewn across the deck and possible blood on board.
On Monday the suspects appeared in court in St Vincent on four immigration counts, to which they pleaded guilty, and they had been remanded into custody with sentencing set for 4 March.
St Vincent Police Superintendent Junior Simmons said that though the couple are presumed dead, “the investigation and search for the missing persons continues.”
Taylor Swift’s dad accused of punching photographer in face after Sydney show
An Australian photographer claims he was punched by Taylor Swift’s dad in Sydney following the singer’s concert.
Ben McDonald said he told police the incident happened at Neutral Bay Wharf, where Swift and her dad had just come ashore from a yacht hours after the singer’s final show in the city.
While officers did not release names, police said they are investigating an alleged assault by a 71-year-old man on a 51-year-old man at 2.30am local time.
Swift’s representatives have not responded to a request for comment, but a spokesperson told Rolling Stone magazine two people were “aggressively pushing” to get to Swift.
They added that the people grabbed security and threatened a member of the singer’s staff.
Mr McDonald said media had been waiting to picture the star as she walked towards two cars.
“There were about four or five security there and at one point, one of the American security started shoving his umbrella into me and my camera and then Taylor got in her car,” he said.
“Someone else came running at me and punched me in the left side of my face.
“Initially, I thought it was an Australian security that was trying to be the hero of the moment in the front of the Americans, but as it turned out it was her father.”
Mr McDonald said he recognised Swift’s father, Scott Swift, from a picture online – adding that he doesn’t have any bruising and didn’t need any treatment.
“In 23 years, I haven’t been assaulted and punched in the chops, particularly by the talent’s dad,” he said.
“We didn’t go rushing down the jetty. We didn’t go rushing to the back of the boat. We waited for her to come up. Kept it very civil.
“But no, they… put the umbrellas up and umbrellas over her and then shove the umbrellas into our faces and then make out that we’re the ones making contact with them.”
Swift left the country on Tuesday after more than 600,000 fans saw her Eras Tour performance across seven concerts.
Israel-Hamas war: Joe Biden says he hopes Gaza ceasefire can be agreed ‘by end of the weekend’
Joe Biden has said he hopes a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas can be secured by the weekend.
The US president made the remarks during an unannounced visit to the Van Leeuwen ice cream parlour, next door to 30 Rock in New York, on Monday.
Flanked by late night TV show host Seth Meyers, Mr Biden was asked by reporters on when a ceasefire in Gaza could start.
In a surprise turn, he said that he hopes it will take place “by the end of the weekend”.
“My national security advisor (Jake Sullivan) tells me that we’re close, we’re close, we’re not done yet,” he said. “My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire.”
Mr Biden’s comments come as Israel prepares to start a military operation in Rafah – which he has warned against without a “credible” plan to protect civilians.
Israel has said it will go ahead with an offensive on the city if hostages are not returned by 10 March, which is when Ramadan starts.
According to NBC News, Sky news’ US partner network, Qatar is mediating talks between Israel and Hamas this week, and ceasefire negotiations have taken place between US, Israeli, Qatari and Egyptian officials in Paris.
Should it happen, it would be the second ceasefire following one in November which saw several hundred Palestinians released from Israeli jails and about 100 hostages freed by Hamas.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said earlier on Monday that the Israeli Defence Force proposed a plan for the evacuation of civilians from “fighting areas” to the country’s war cabinet.
This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.
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